Comparison and Stereotyping

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We often compare ourselves and the group we belong to with other people. .On the other hand, we also instantly classify a person or group of people according to a certain commonly accepted stereotype.

Comparing two groups of people will allow a person to understand their  members through assessment of their abilities, attitudes, beliefs and actions with the use of the same principles. Most of the time, we look for similarities between ourselves or our peers and another peer group.  We compare different groups with those who, in our opinion, are better than we. Sometimes, we can make a comparison with communities that are equal to or even worse. Stereotyping, on the other hand, is a fixed, overgeneralized manner of thinking about a group of people.  Moreover, we classify a person into one of  such groups on the basis of specific categories, leaving no room for individuality or change.  We immediately see a person or community in a certain way and assume that they possess  some general features.  For instance, most people believe that Gemans and Swiss are always punctual. We do not give any chance to acceptions. Such an approach is derogatory in its essence.

The other difference between comparison and stereotyping is that comparison leads to self-evaluation. Through comparison with others,  we find out more about ourselves and about the group we are a member of.  Comparison usually helps a person to realize his/ her own identity as well as to enhance his/ her own worth.  Stereotyping allows us to deal with situations immediately by means of categorization.  However, it does not  let us understand nor get to know a person’s true self, as we have already referred that person or group to a specific category.  Therefore, stereotypes give the ground for a lot of misjudgements.  On the other hand, comparing creates  an opportunity to understand one’s self and others.

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